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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/79

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56
Reviews.

princesses of European stories. In the tales, as in native belief, men are on the same footing, not merely with one another, but with beasts, birds, and reptiles. In fact, men are beasts and beasts men, without the intervention even of a wicked magician. Magicians and "doctors" there are; but their paraphernalia are more simple, and they know nothing of the mysterious horror of forbidden knowledge. In European tales the line which divides the natural from the supernatural is faint and uncertain; in purely savage tales it does not exist. In the former we have a growing civilisation pervaded by the mists of savagery; in the latter we have savagery and nothing else. The glamour of the true fairy tale is therefore wanting. Even the art of tale-telling is but little developed. The incidents are simple and few, though the beginnings of plot are to be faintly discerned.

To the student the interest of these tales lies in the incidents, in the germs which they exhibit of incidents we know elsewhere, and in their reflection of savage life and thought. The shapes and colours of various animals; why some have few young ones and others many; the origin of fire, of death, of certain stars, of certain lakes; stories of hunting, of revenge; savage love-making and bride-capture; the power of curses; savage treachery and fidelity; these are. among the subjects of this very interesting collection made from a tribe, now fast dying out, on the Narran River in New South Wales—a collection of documents precious to all who set any value on the study of the human mind.

Mr. Andrew Lang, in addition to a short introduction, has enriched the volume with a number of drawings by an untaught Australian native. "They were given to me," he says, "some years ago by my brother. Dr. Lang, of Corowa."


The Myths of the New World: A Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race of America. By Daniel G. Brinton, A.M., M.D., LL.D., D.Sc. Third Edition, revised. Philadelphia: David McKay, 1896.

It is eight-and-twenty years since the first edition of Dr. Brinton's Myths of the New World, was issued. In preparing the new edition he has had the advantage of all the fresh information which has been given to the world by students of the American tribes, and